s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

We all love an optimist and hey, let's just say it, the following folks who have been brave enough to open tasting rooms over the last year should be celebrated and honored with many visitors. Not to mention, with this great weather starting to stick around, it's time to get outside and explore these fun new spots.

B Cellars: A producer that's been around the Napa Valley for a few years, B Cellars has only recently opened this tasting room, a place to try winemaker Kirk Venge's three proprietary Rhone and Italian-influenced blends. The tasting room is surrounded by vineyards, its outdoor patio overlooking a pond, where with 24-hours notice, a picnic lunch will be available for $35 per person from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 400 Silverado Trail, Calistoga, 709-8787, bcellars.com.

Cesar Toxqui Cellars: Named for winemaker Cesar Toxqui who farms in the coastal foothills of Mendocino County and who first learned about making wine from his jobs at Fetzer Vineyards and Brutocao Cellars. Tastings of his small-production cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, zinfandel and red blends are available at his downtown Hopland tasting room.

Open Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 13440 S. Highway 101, Hopland, 744-1071, www.toxqui.com.

Lula Cellars: Named for winemaker Jeff Hansen's maternal grandmother, Lula is all about smooth and silky pinot noir from the Mendocino Coast, in addition to a Mendocino gew?rztraminer and Napa zinfandel. This small tasting spot is in the heart of Anderson Valley.

Open Friday through Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 9000 Highway 128, Philo, 895-3737, lulacellars.com.

Red Car: The West County winery, part of the newly developed West Sonoma Coast Vintners Association, offers three tiers of its wines, Boxcar (chardonnay, pinot noir, rose and syrah), Trolley (pinot noir and syrah) and Reserve (cleverly named pinot noir, roussanne and syrah), all available to try and buy at this newly opened tasting room.

Open daily 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 8400 Graton Road, Sebastopol, 829-8500, redcarwine.com.

Rivino Winery: Husband and wife team Jason McConnell and Suzanne Jahnke McConnell recently opened the doors for guests to come take a gander at their tiny artisan winery with sweeping views of the Ukiah Valley below, a stone's throw from their estate vineyard, Schrader Ranch. All micro-production and deftly made, the wines range from Chianti-inspired sangiovese and herbalicious cabernet franc to a viognier with pleasing honeysuckle and tropical minerality, and a chardonnay is completely unoaked, nice, bright and crisp like an autumn apple. They also make Sedulous, a blend of merlot, cab franc and viognier that's distinctly different.

Open Tuesday through Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 4001 Cox-Schrader Road, Ukiah, 293-4262, www.rivino.com.

Santa Rosa Vintners Square: In downtown Santa Rosa this winery village is made up of four boutique wineries — D'Argenzio Winery, Sheldon Wines, Krutz Family Cellars and MJ Lords Winery — and includes a patio area for tasting. On Thursday nights, come for Wine Down from 4 to 8 p.m., where $5 glasses of wine are joined by gourmet food trucks and live music. Squires Cigar Shop and Lounge is also on the premises; culinary classes and a microbrewery are in the mix for the future.

Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 1301 and 1305 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa, 280-4658, santarosavintnerssquare.com.

Schweiger Vineyards: The Calistoga winery has just opened a new tasting room 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley offering balcony service and sit-down, paired food-and-wine tastings, from a three-flight Salon Tasting to six-flight Dedication Tasting and charcuterie-paired tasting. Full estate tours include a descent into the barrel room.</CW>

Open daily by appointment 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 4015 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena, 963-4882, schweigervineyards.com.

Velo Vino: Clif Family Wine's new tasting room and cycling hub in St. Helena where wine can be tasted in addition to the sampling of new Clif Bar flavors. Espresso drinks are on offer and cycling excursions can be arranged through the Napa Valley. Private food and wine tastings on the patio are a popular choice, as are tours of the sensory garden. There are also tours of the Clif Family farm gardens and vineyard, hidden high up atop Howell Mountain.

Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 709 Main St., St. Helena, 968-0625, velovinonapavalley.com.

VML Winery: Virginia Marie Lambrix's new winery in the heart of the Russian River Valley, where as part-owner, winemaker and viticulturalist she focuses on chardonnay and pinot noir from the appellation. Lambrix's partners are Phil Hurst, Paul Dolan and his sons Heath and Bill Hambrecht, who are partners in Dry Creek Valley's Truett Hurst Winery as well, where Lambrix also serves as winemaker and viticulturalist with a focus on the zinfandel and syrah that does well in that region. Altogether the group aims to offer great wines at a fair price point and down-to-earth tasting experiences, with VML meant to be a tad more formal than Truett Hurst, though plans are in place for live music at VML on Saturdays and casual barbecues too.

Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4035 Westside Road, Healdsburg, 431-4404, vmlwine.com.

Virginie Boone is a freelance wine writer based in Sonoma County.

She can be reached at virginieboone@yahoo.com.